What’s the best financial planning software?

I need to do a financial plan for my family inlcuding retirement savings, accounting for various estimates of inflation. My accountant says Quicken financial planner v2 was good, but it can’t be found anymore. He also says that the financial planning capabilities of Quicken aren’t adequate.

You can do modular planning using web sites from Vanguard (vanguard.com), T Rowe Price or fidelity (fidelity.com). They all have retirement planners that are decent.

There is no nonprofessional (“inexpensive”) softwares that do it all. I have been a Certified Financial Planner for 25 yrs. and you do not need a big, integrated package. What you need is:

1. A budget, which can be found online or using an Excel spreadsheet you create.

2. A tax planner, which can be Turbotax or TaxCut.

3. Retirement planner, which can be as above.

4. Life insurance planning. here you can get tricky and look for online planning software but you will probably get agents with self-interest. Or you can do “quick and dirty” planning: what lumpsum would you need to provide your family with enough income to live on if you die? Divide your annual living expenses, less other income (working wife), by 0.04 or 0.05. That assumes you can get 4 or 5% longterm, which is rational in today’s economy. That’s how much life insurance you need. It will probably be a big number, but that’s OK. Every breadwinner should have $500,000-$1 million of term life insurance, level 20-year is OK for most. You should need it till you are 65 (retired) or have money, whichever comes first. Insure both husband and wife if both work. Should be personally-owned, not from work, because you will need it regardless of where you work.

5. Estate planning: If you own less than $2 million between you and your wife, you don’t need to worry about estate taxes. (This is VERY simplified.) You need a will, financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney and living will.

Well, that’s 25 years of experience in a nutshell. The important thing is to get started now, now to agonize over what software you’re using. Try 2 retirement planners listed above; if the numbers are close, you’re on track. By the way, for people under 45, I ignored Social Security retirement benefits period. I found they need to save so much money anyway that SS didn’t make much difference one way or the other. Good luck!